Friday, February 24, 2012

soul food friday: when even good change is a bit hard...

Many of you will know I’m a HR consultant.  Sometimes I advise clients about managing change. Hell, I even invented a change model based on whole brain thinking.  I know.... clever huh J *snort/guffaw*. So...bottom line is, I know the theory.
Last week, a major work change that’s been in the making for over six months finally came to fruition. We sold 80% of the business to (I’m very pleased to say)  an Australian publicly listed company. This means that 20% remains privately owned, but I’m no longer one of those owners. I'll have to resort to buying shares!
For the last ten years I’ve been a company director. I’ve been part owner of a business; involved in a whole pile of stuff that comes along with that. To be honest, some of it’s been a huge load and a heavy responsibility, but mostly it’s been an enormous privilege to be part of something that’s grown and succeeded and made a difference to a lot of people...and I really believe we have done that.
And while I was very happy to sell my shares (and no, I won't be rich!), last week I found myself experiencing a sense of loss.  And also being a bit bemused about how to go back to being an employee because I'm staying on with the company (actually, as a 'key person' I don't have a lot of choice about that for the next few years!). And while the changeover hasn't happened just yet, I'm slowly getting used to my place in the work world being different now.
During an email exchange with the first born on the day we announced the sale to staff, I wrote that I was a bit sad and feeling emotional. She said “that’s understandable – it’s your baby". True. [Well, it's one of them anyway...the others have caused a great deal more trouble!]
But she’s right. I do feel a bit like a mother who’s waved off her child as they leave home (been there, done that, found it hard...although when they've done it more than once it gets easier!). And like that person, I need to let go of the apron strings. Or to mix a metaphor or three...pass on the baton while untying the strings and looking to the future! It’s the right thing for me, and it’s the right thing for the company. It doesn’t mean I stop caring. It doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for it.  It just means I have a different role now, and I think it’s ok (probably even necessary) to do a bit of grieving for the old one. In fact, I don’t think I’d be me if I didn’t.
But it’s the silly, simple things that are doing my head in. I didn’t have to worry about moving out of my office. I did that ages ago, voluntarily (you can read my thoughts on that here, it's about being connected and it's still one of the best, simple things I've ever done).  But what on earth do I put on my business card now? Who’s going to sign all the things that I used to sign?  Who do I report to? And when do I surrender my corporate credit card L
The reality is that things will probably go on pretty much as they always have, at least for the foreseeable future. Day-to-day my core job doesn’t change, except I may very well get busier for a bit as we adjust to a new set of business requirements. I’ll still put in every bit of effort that’s needed. I’ll still celebrate all of our achievements, individual and collective.  I’ll just have a different role, add value in a different way, learn to accept that I won’t be introduced to people as a company director any more. Even though I've never really cared too much about status, even when I was in the Army, I think that might be one of the hardest things to get used to. Hey I'm human.
So...some adjustments to make, but none of them very agonising. And in time, a whole raft of new possibilities will emerge. I may not be sure about much, but I'm sure about that...whatever the 'that' may be! And if I'm a bit more flaky than usual for a while, I'm sure you'll understand; come to think of it that probably explains why I can't decide if I'm going through major, minor change, or minor, major change. 
I should probably see someone about that J

p.s. I do realise this is a completely self indulgent post. Normal nonsense will resume shortly J


  1. Hi my lovely, long time no speak! Congratulations on your success! I can understand why you have mixed feelings, that's a very big change. My husband part owns his business and has invested a lot of time and care into it. I imagine he would feel the same if he sold. I hope you enjoy your new role and have a lovely weekend..Rachaelxx

  2. Wow Kerry, that is a huge change! It will take a lot of getting used to no doubt, but think of all the new possibilities, all that freed up space in your brain for new creative projects.
    Ps ouchy about that corporate credit card!

  3. It sounds like it might be a 'major, major' change Kerry and although you have all the requisite cognitive skills to get you through it, I'm sure that the heart will be tugging it in all sorts of directions.

    I'm immensely thrilled for you that you've sold the company and my mind boggles at all you will achieve with the extra time you'll have available to you when things eventually settle down.


  4. Mary here: if I recall Kerry, when you started your Soul Day Fridays, they were meant to be self indulgent as you put it, so don't fret that. I think your feelings would be justified (and your first born is correct) at seeing something you've grown, now moving out of your hands. Not unlike those feelings when first and second born fled the nest. You created something, nurtured it and now time to let it go. You will have to let us know how you feel once you are in a new rhythm at work. But how wonderful it must feel to have created this wonderful business with your partners and have it wanted by a public company. That says a lot for your success. I am sure that now that announcements have been made, you will enjoy your weekend. And knowing you, you will embrace the new changes with your usual enthusiasm! Congrats.

  5. Wow, that is a big change. Change is unsettling until you get used to the "new normal". I hope you are feeling immensely proud of your success and achievements in building the business. I am sure you will be very pivotal in your key role. Be kind to yourself during this process. I recommend some soothing crochet over the weekend. Deb x

  6. Let your heart have its say, as many times as it needs to and for as long as it needs to. Your head gets enough of a workout during the week doing what you do!

  7. WOW! Massive change, well done you. Change iusnt an easy thing, but you wouldnt have done it if it wasnt right. Keep faith in that and a smile, and you'll figure the rest out xxx

  8. Kerry I am so thrilled it has all come to fruition at last, congratulations. I do fear that your biggest problem will be in letting go, letting someone else make the decisions....staying, with the letting go of your child analogy, it is like walking them down the aisle, still there but you are no longer the most important person in their lives!!!! You will cope and cope well I know Kerry and I wish you all the best during this period of transition.
    much love Julienne xxx

  9. It will be interesting to see how you feel 6 months and a year down the road Kerry. I do hope everything will be good. Interesting to know a bit more about you.

  10. Time and love! A structured exit is a real achievement, and while you're staying on, now you know where the door is! and well done.

  11. oh Kerry, what a lovely heartfelt post...congratulations on the sale and your new role, you will likely find that it is very free-ing to be in this new position, and I'm sure you'll take the changes all very graciously. Maybe it will give you precious new time to enjoy the pursuits that you so love. Your writing is so fun to read.

  12. Oh Kerry. What a lot to take in. No wonder you're feeling so emotional. I hope you find the time to just breathe and be this weekend, Lovely. J x

  13. Of course you're feeling sad and a bit emotional Kerry - this is your baby, and as you say, despite knowing that this is happening for all the right reasons, and that selling is a measure of your success, letting go will be hard. Brunnel is always asking me what my exit strategy is for Small Acorns, and truthfully, I don't have one yet, because I'm not ready to let go. But give yourself time to realize your new role, and I'm sure it will get easier. Hope they let you keep the credit card - there just might be more paperwork to fill out! And take the time to celebrate your success too, because you deserve it. xx

  14. You will sashay straight into the role of Minister of Special Projects & do an amazing job Kerry. Congrats on making such a sensible decision. I feel a consultancy service to bogged down bloggers coming on, after all you are our Queen of Great Advice.
    Millie xx

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